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Coping with lung cancer

It can be very difficult to cope with a diagnosis of cancer, both practically and emotionally. You may feel very upset and confused at first. As well as coping with the fear and anxiety that a diagnosis of cancer brings, you have to work out how to manage practically. There may be money matters to sort out. Who do you tell you have cancer? There may also be children to consider.

Just try to remember that you don't have to sort everything out at once. It may take some time to deal with each issue. Do ask for help if you need it though. Your doctor or specialist nurse will know who you can contact to get some help. They can put you in touch with people specially trained in supporting people with cancer.

Lung cancer organisations can help you to find sources of emotional support and counselling in your area. There are also now web based forums where you can get in touch with other people who've been diagnosed with lung cancer.

The coping with cancer section contains lots of information you may find helpful. There are sections about feelings and emotions, and talking about cancer. There is also information about where to get help, helping yourself, sex and sexuality, and about practical issues such as financial support, benefits and sick pay.

 

CR PDF Icon You can view and print the quick guides for all the pages in the Living with lung cancer section.

 

 

Coping with your diagnosis

It can be very difficult to cope with a diagnosis of lung cancer, both practically and emotionally. At first, you are likely to feel very upset, frightened and confused. Or you may feel that that things are out of your control. 

It is very important to get the right information about your type of cancer and how it is best treated. People who are well informed about their illness and treatment are more able to make decisions and cope with what happens.

 

How lung cancer can affect you physically

Lung cancer and its treatment may cause physical changes in your body. These changes can be very difficult to cope with and may affect the way you feel about yourself. You may have symptoms such as a cough or breathlessness. We have a page about coping with breathlessness. Surgery may cause scarring and you may have pain in the area for some months afterwards. Such body changes can affect your self esteem and the way you relate to other people, especially close family and friends.

Another problem you may have to cope with is feeling very tired and lethargic a lot of the time. You may feel very tired during and after treatment or if the cancer is advanced. There is information about fatigue and cancer and treating cancer fatigue in the section about coping physically with cancer.

If you are having a sexual relationship, one or all of these changes may affect your sex life. There is information about how cancer can affect your sex life in the coping with cancer section.

 

Coping practically with lung cancer

As well as coping with the fear and anxiety that a diagnosis of lung cancer brings, you may also have to work out how to manage practically. There may be money matters to sort out. You may need information about financial support, such as benefits, sick pay and grants

Who do you tell that you have cancer? And how do you find the words? You may also have children to think about. We have information about talking to people about your cancer and how and what to tell children.

Just try to remember that you do not have to sort everything out at once. It may take some time to deal with each issue. Do ask for help if you need it though. It is likely that your doctor or specialist nurse will know who you can contact to get some help. They can put you in touch with people specially trained in supporting people with cancer. They are there to help and want you to feel that you have support. So use them if you feel you need to.

You may need to have access to support staff, such as a physiotherapist or dietician. Social workers can help you with information about your entitlement to sick pay and benefits. If you live alone, a social worker may be able to help by organising convalescence when you first come out of hospital.

 

More information about coping with lung cancer

The coping with cancer section has lots of helpful information. There are sections about

For detailed information about coping with lung cancer, you can phone the Cancer Research UK nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040, from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Or you can contact one of the organisations on our lung cancer organisations list. They will be happy to help. They often have free factsheets and booklets they can send to you. They may also be able to put you in touch with a support group. There is also a lung cancer reading list.

You can also find details of counselling organisations. They can tell you more about counselling and help you find sources of emotional support in your area. If you want to find people to share experiences with on line, you could use Cancer Chat, our online forum.

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Updated: 31 March 2014